05 October 2007

The more you give the more you get back.

There is something really positive and energising about working with those less fortunate than ourselves or helping people in some way. I strongly recommend giving some of your valuable time to helping others. It serves a number of purposes, not the least of which is a reminder that you own life is not as bad as you may think it is at times.

Now I know that when you are struggling with finding the time to spend with the family, or you are working 12 hours a days, the concept of spending time in a soup kitchen seems a little crazy. But it is amazing therapy and you will be surprised how good it can make you feel.

Get involved in your community. Offer some time or resources within your business to help improve the quality of other people’s lives. This will make you feel fantastic, make others look at you and your business as a good corporate citizen and ultimately help to improve your work life balance.

#40 Take off the medals – it shouldn’t be that hard.

There is a perception amongst business owners and even in the wider community that running a business is really hard, you have to work long hours and in all likelihood, make very little money. Now whilst I do agree with this at times, I don’t think it should be like that and it is up to us as business owners to change that perception.

The concept of “you should get a medal” for running your own business actively encourages the “misery mentality”. I see a lot of this. Business owners complaining about the sacrifices they have made to have the business. Who cares? It was their choice in the first place. But get a group of business owners together and they can often slip into a moaning meeting where all of the woes of the small business world are aired. Which helps to keep the notion in play.

I think it is good to be able to talk to other small business owners about the challenges we all face, but we need to balance this out with the rewards we all enjoy at the same time.

I really believe there are two key issues here. The first is that it is very destructive and draining to be surrounded by people who do nothing but moan about how hard life is. Keep away from them at all costs, otherwise you will become just like them. Secondly, change the notion that running a business is really hard. Change what you say, change what you tell other people. Sure talk about the challenges but balance it out by talking about the rewards.

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